Emergency Petition

        If a person presents a danger to themselves or others and is unwilling or unable to see a physician to be evaluated, any concerned person can seek an Emergency Petition to require the person to be evaluated for possible treatment. In Maryland (laws vary from state to state) a licensed physician who has examined the patient, or a police officer who observes the dangerous behavior, may sign the Emergency Petition, and the police are authorized to take the person to the nearest appropriate emergency room for evaluation for up to 30 hours. If a physician or police officer is not able to observe the dangerous behavior, the concerned person, often a friend or family member, can inform the police they wish to petition the court. (Although difficult, this can be done in off hours.) If the judge is satisfied that a dangerous situation exists an Emergency Petition will be authorized by the judge so that the individual can be located and picked up by the police to be taken to an emergency room for evaluation. If the evaluating doctors in the emergency room believe the patient meets the criteria, they will arrange for the patient to be hospitalized by filling out two physician’s certificates. 

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